MP Bypolls: Violence Mars Voting in Gwalior-Chambal Region, While Congress Points Fingers at EVMs, Poll Officers

File photo of BJP and Congress flags.

File photo of BJP and Congress flags.

Constituencies outside Gwalior-Chambal region witnessed bumper voting, with several of them recording over 80% polling at 6pm.


Vivek Trivedi

Like the high-voltage campaigning for bypolls witnessed in Madhya Pradesh, voting on Tuesday was no less than a charged affair on Tuesday as 66% voting was reported by the stipulated 6pm.

Polling continued in most of the seats for those already in line at 6pm.

As violent incidents were reported from Chambal region, especially from Morena where several polling booths saw firing, the constituencies outside Gwalior-Chambal region witnessed bumper voting, with several of them recording over 80% polling at 6pm.

The Congress party pointed fingers at electronic voting machines (EVMs) through Digvijaya Singh in the morning, though senior leader and Gwalior region in-charge KK Mishra suspected that poll officers in districts could under-report polling figures. He also urged the Election Commission (EC) to offer voting percentage figures at a specific time to avoid confusion. The Congress was expected to move the EC on violent incidents by late evening after polling was over.

Meanwhile Rajya Sabha member Digvijaya Singh demanded re-polling in the Sumawali seat where firing was reported at over half a dozen places in which a man was also injured in Pachauri Ka Pura area early in the day. The women voters were prevented from casting their votes, added Singh.

BJP state president VD Sharma, while expressing hope that the BJP will emerge victorious in the bypolls on all 28 seats, said Digvijaya Singh had started preparing pleas for shielding the Congress party’s impending defeat in polls.

Hatpipliya in Dewas saw maximum 80.8% voting till 6pm while Gwalior East in Gwalior recorded only 43% voting. Other seats in Morena, Bhind and Gwalior – Sumawali (53.4%), Gohad (44.6%), Dimni (57.5%), Gwalior East (43%), Dabra (57%), etc – recorded low to medium turnout.

However, seats outside this region, Hatpipliya (80.8%), Agar (80.5%), Biaora (80.1%), Suwasra (80%), Nepanagar (72.7%), Sanwer (74.3%) and Mandhata (73.4%), recorded significant polling. Despite violence in Sumawali in Morena, it recorded 53.5% polling by 6pm.

At Bhind’s Liloi village, some locals had vandalised the EVMs while at Hauri village in Morena firing was reported from outside the residence of former MP Babulal Solanki. Four were arrested in connection with the firing in Jatawar and the gun used in the firing was recovered by the police.

Mahgaon candidate Hemant Katare’s brother Yogesh was arrested by police for roaming around in Mahgaon despite being an outsider. Similarly, three including Guna BJP district head Gajendra Sikarwar were booked by police for roaming in the Bamori constituency.

Police in Joura seat seized a diary of Congress candidate Pankaj Upadhyay in which details of cash given to locals was allegedly written. The matter is being probed, SP Anurag Sojatia said. Gwalior East BJP and Congress candidates Munnalal Goyal and Satish Sikarwar were kept in house arrest by the administration for several hours. An EVM snag was reported from a polling booth in Dabra (Gwalior).

A fake voter was arrested at Index medical college at Sanwer.

Congress and BJP workers clashed at Talawali Chanda area in Sanwer accusing each other of pressurising voters.

For allaying fears on Covid-19, polling booths had arrangements of sanitisers, water, soap and instruments to measure body temperature. Circles were drawn outside polling booths so that voters could exercise social distancing.

BJP leaders led by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan were stationed at the party head office in Bhopal while Congress leaders led by Kamal Nath were at the party war room at the MPCC office in the city.

Rajya Sabha member Jyotiradiatya Scindia exercised his franchise in Gwalior and later told the media that the BJP government will keep its hold on power after the bypolls and this government will prove historic for farmers, youths and women.

There are 355 candidates in the fray for 28 assembly seats in the bypolls. Counting and announcement of results will take place on November 10.

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